Roots & Wings Online

Passion for Tech and Helping People

If you’re a Ladera Ranch Tech Support Facebook Group member, you’ve likely read a helpful post or comment by Ray Vanpraag.

Tech Support Facebook Group founder Robert Lorenzo asked Ray if he’d answer general IT-related questions and help residents with tech challenges. Since he loves sharing his knowledge about tech, Ray started responding to posts almost daily, giving fairly in-depth answers to most questions posted in the group.

He found that the questions he received online were similar to what he sees daily in his tech-related businesses. The more he engaged, the more he could offer a technician's view on various issues that helped fellow residents.

Ray, an original Ladera resident, and his family moved to Ladera during the phase-1 buildout in early 2000. After living in multiple homes in Ladera, he returned to Oak Knoll Village. He discovered Ladera Ranch while driving around on a Sunday—it was love at first sight. 

We had a chance to interview Ray over technology rather than face-to-face. It seemed appropriate. 

LaderaLife: SS number and mother's maiden name?
Ray: 777-77-7777, Vandernothing … LOL

LaderaLife: What do you do for a living?  
Ray: I started my IT career as a network engineer in 1998 when the Internet was new. From 1998 to 2010, I built and operated small private data centers, selling my last one and starting what’s known today as Cellular and Laptop Repair Centers. These days, I own two businesses that both align with technology: Cellular and Laptop Repair Centers (CLRC), an Apple Certified Service Center located in Lake Forest, CA, and Loopsey Technology Solutions, which specializes in outsourced CTO and Cyber Security, also offering general IT services. 

LaderaLife: What do you enjoy most about living in Ladera?
Ray: I love the sense of community and the layout of the villages and neighborhoods. I felt like I raised my children in the countryside. There are so many trees, hills, and greenery everywhere… a lot different from where I grew up in the South Coast Metro area. My youngest daughter and I ride our bikes all throughout Ladera, and it still amazes me how beautiful Ladera is.

LaderaLife: Tech tip that you care to share?
Ray: Mobile devices are not ‘waterproof’; they’re ‘liquid resistant,’ and that resistance diminishes over time. The fine print of all manufacturers says something to the effect of “only certified to resist liquid intrusion in new, out of the box condition….” Just because you see an ad on TV about taking your iPhone into a rainstorm or swimming with your Apple watch doesn’t mean it can’t be liquid-damaged. 

LaderaLife: What are the most common tech-related questions that you answer?
Ray: In-home WiFi performance and Internet speeds are the most common questions. Most people have no reference point when they choose the type of WiFi router they buy or how larger homes, like the ones in Ladera, should be set up to cover the area and deliver the expected performance properly.

Most users buy what seems to catch their eye at Costco or Best Buy and set it up in the most basic way. The lack of pre-purchase and setup guidance can really impact performance. This is exactly the type of thing the Ladera Ranch Tech Support Group is there for. 

LaderaLife: Favorite/best app that you couldn't live without?
Ray: I make a lot of videos, and right now, my must-have is CapCut. The templates it has to create engaging social media material are amazing. For business, I use Speed Test by Ookla. It tests internet connection speeds and is a baseline tool to see if a problem exists.

LaderaLife: Sign that someone it's time to retire a device and buy a new one? 
Ray: Ha. Great question. When it stops being able to perform its intended function. Most people don’t realize that computers require maintenance from time to time, just like a car. Often, servicing a laptop can restore it to a brand-new performance level. Now, in the specific case of Apple laptops and iPhones, you should retire the device anytime you get more than one major version behind the ability to run the latest version of the MacOS or iOS Operating System. This is usually around the 8-year mark.   

LaderaLife: Funniest tech-help/customer story.
Ray: The first one happens at least once a week at CLRC. Customers come in and report that their iPhone no longer has any sound coming from the earpiece speaker when making a regular call.  Then, I noticed they installed their screen protector upside down and covered the earpiece speaker opening. It’s always an OMG moment for the customer.

The second one was when an IT client called, saying his office server was dead and that it was just making an annoying beeping sound. I could hear the beeping over the phone. It sounded like an alert beep, so I asked him if he had unplugged anything or made any changes to what my team had set up. He replied, ‘No.’  After driving 20 minutes to the client site, we found that the client had unplugged the battery backup system that was positioned between the server and the wall outlet. He had unplugged the battery backup to plug in his phone charger. He swore it couldn’t be related because the server was still running for a while after he did that. Yeah, for about 20 minutes until the battery backup system was depleted and started beeping!